View Full Version : Top Bar Super
02-27-2005, 07:49 AM
How feasable might it be to super my Lang with a shallow or medium super(or even a deep for that matter) with topbars rather than frames? Any tips for improved chances for success would be very welcome. i dont have an extracter and i am anticipating harvesting my topbar by the crush and strain method next year, but this year i think my Lang is getting ready to produce some harvestable amounts of honey and i was wondering if i could get by doing it this way. Is this not a good idea?
02-27-2005, 10:10 AM
It sounds like you are interested in supering without foundation so you can harvest the comb and honey and all without extracting using either crush method or simply comb honey. This is a good idea. But instead of using top bars, which lack sides and a bottom, I suggest you take a regular frame and add a triangle. This is the way they used to do it. I am sure that Michael B will chip in soon and direct you. He uses this method exclusively, i think. The advantage over a top bar is that it will avoid attachment to the side of the hive. I have seen frames over 100 years old that were designed just this way. Foundationless.
02-27-2005, 04:22 PM
>How feasable might it be to super my Lang with a shallow or medium super(or even a deep for that matter) with topbars rather than frames?
I've heard of it being done. The problem is they will attached it on the bottom, if it's there long enough, and you'll have to cut with a wire or something in order to pull the super off. Also the bars inhibit traffic up to the next super, and how will you get the bees out of the honey? I think it can be done but the logistics are more complicated than just using top bars. If it was me I'd only try it on a small scale and see how it works.
>I suggest you take a regular frame and add a triangle.
>This is the way they used to do it.
Since L.L. Langstroth published it. He probably didn't even invnet it. smile.gif
>I am sure that Michael B will chip in soon and direct you.
You seem to be doing fine.
>He uses this method exclusively, i think.
I don't really use any method exclusively, but I guess all my new frames have been this way for about a year.
Search for "Foundationless frames" It's just a little ways down the page and there are several pictures.
02-27-2005, 06:16 PM
David and Michael, thank you for your wisdom. i had not even considered these obstacles(new guy).i dont want to end up in over my head with a mess that will be hard on the bees. i now think that the frames with the guides all the way around will be the way to go. i believe this is the triangle David is refering to. As is often the case, another question has come up- How does one clear the bees from the combs for harvesting honey in a topbar hive? Smoke?
02-28-2005, 05:56 AM
The same way I do in a regular hive. I brush them off one comb at a time. But in a regular hive I get to use a bee escape to get a lot of them off first. smile.gif You could also pull them just before dark and wait for the bees to return to the hive and get the bars just AFTER dark.
Get a roll of cheap sheet plastic from the hardware store and cut it into a rectangle which will lay across the top bars. If the box below the super has bee spaces between the top bars, cut the rectangle so that there is a 1-2" clearance at the edges, so the bees can come up. I have used single or double sheets of the plastic and it does away with the need to use wire to slice or separate the boxes of comb. It also acts as a pretty effective queen excluder.
In my experience with top bar brood boxes, with the plastic sheet beneath and between the honey supers, it worked out very well. Queens stayed down and the supers were not bonded together with comb. The idea could easily be modified for use with other TBH's.
03-01-2005, 08:20 AM
I saw in some german beekeeping videos that they always used a sheet of clear plastic betweeen the cover and the top super. I wonder why they did that. They didn't use plastic between supers.
03-02-2005, 06:30 PM
JWG- Thanks for the idea. i've been furiously making frames with guides, so maybe i'll just end up trying both. Do you think that 1/16th inch clear plexiglas would work? It's readily available and the price is right.
03-08-2005, 12:18 PM
03-08-2005, 12:19 PM
if you put sheets of plastic between every super, you will be seriously restricting hive ventilation, causing hives to overheat, and making it much more work for the bees to evaporate nectar. I would go with the foundationless frames; this is what i will be doing!
This is exactly why the German keepers use the plastic to keep heat in. I asked my mentor and he said it was to cold, when we went into the bee house (all hives are kept in one house with the hive entrances cut into the side of the house/shed) he had blankets over the hives to boot, I cringed but kept my mouth shut he is the third generation beekeeper in his family. One thing is for certian You CAN'T teach an old Bavarian new tricks. I learned this from my father in law, and I still have to split the thick logs with a hammer and malls while I watch the chain saw sit there cold!